Four people have died in a mass shooting after a gunman stormed a medical building in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on Wednesday night before turning the gun on himself, according to police. The cause of the horrific assault was unknown. However, the unidentified gunman used both a handgun and a rifle, according to Eric Dalgleish, deputy chief of the Tulsa police department.
The shooting took place at an orthopedic office on the second floor of the Natalie Medical Building at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa at around 5 p.m., Dalgleish said at a press conference. Initial investigation claims the gunman was targeting a doctor who works at the hospital.
Police received a call that a man was walking with a rifle near the Natalie Building at St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, around 5 pm on Wednesday. According to Tulsa Police Captain Richard Meulenberg, when officers arrived, it had developed into an active shooter situation.
The gunman by that time had shot dead four people and before police could intervene, he turned the gun on him. As authorities investigate the shooter's motive, it's unclear whether the shooting was targeted or random. Officials stated that they were not yet ready to identify those who had died.
"Multiple" persons were also injured, according to cops. It was unclear how many persons were hurt or in what condition they were in right away. At least one casualty was taken to another hospital in the area.
City Council Jayme Fowler told media that the shooter, who has not been named, was looking for "Dr Phillips" when he rushed into the hospital building. It is not clear if the doctor the gunman targeted was among the victims.
Authorities were also looking into whether the shooter planted a bomb at a home near Muskogee although no explosives were discovered after a search.
Police said that one of the victims was found later locked in a closet as police searched the building room-by-room. According to the chief, the incident occurred on the building's second floor, which included an orthopedic office.
The scene at the medical center was described as "catastrophic" by police Capt. Richard Meulenberg. Police although haven't arrived to a conclusion, they believe that the shooting wasn't random.
"This wasn't an individual who just decided he wanted to go find a hospital full of random people. He deliberately made a choice to come here and his actions were deliberate," Meulenberg added.
"There will obviously be many questions, and there will be a very bumpy road, I think, ahead of us," St. Francis Health System CEO Dr. Cliff Robertson said, adding that the shooting was a "senseless, horrible, incomprehensible act."
The Tulsa shooting follows a spate of shootings around the United States, including the Uvalde shooting in Texas, which killed 21 people, including 19 children, and a mass shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that killed 10 Black people.
Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum described the hospital as "sacred grounds for the community," supporting the city through the Covid-19 pandemic over the last two and a half years. "This has been a facility more than any other that has worked to save the lives of this city," Bynum said.
He offered "profound gratitude" to the first responders who "did not hesitate today to respond to this act of violence."